Saturday, March 1, 2014

03-02-2014 -- 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

March 02, 2014 - 8th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

In a world of masters and slaves, the readings this weekend challenge us to ask ourselves: “Who is my master?”

It's an important question because masters always have servants. And masters seek to dominate their servants.

If we feverishly seek money or possessions then those things will master us.

The result: God will seem vague and elusive next to what appears to be the soothing social value of cash.

But this comes with unintended consequences. We become slaves to our own possessions. They dominate us, leaving us instantly gratified but ultimately unfulfilled.

So our quest for more possessions, for more instant gratification leaves us worried and anxious about all sorts of things.

The desire for more and more stuff stresses us out, making us tense and edgy.

On the other hand, if we seek God, then the anxious quest for stuff will not be as important as it once was.

The result: we would be less anxious and less worried about things, because those things would begin to lose their power over us.

And we would begin to have faith in God's loving care for us.

We would come to understand that God's love helps us through the unexpected and difficult times.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells us to stop worrying. We would like to be free from worry and anxiety, but we worry about worldly things, what Jesus calls “mammon.”

“Mammon” comes from a Greek word meaning material goods and possessions, things that money can buy.

If we continue to worry about these things that money can buy, then we love them more than we love God.

Our possessions and our desire for instant gratification and our desire from more and more master us. These become our god.

Jesus is warning us that these things cannot satisfy our hearts, and that if we care too much about them, they will separate us from God.

He tells us, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well.”

In other words, seek the things that money can't buy.

We already believe in Jesus Christ. But today Jesus is asking us, “How deeply do you believe?”

When our hearts are divided, when we try to find happiness both in our friendship with the Lord and in our worldly possessions, we end up losing both. We cannot serve two masters.

Jesus longs for our friendship. He wants to be part of our lives, to walk with us through the difficult times.

Jesus longs to be with us when we're up at 2 AM with a sick baby.

Jesus longs to be with us when our best friend loses her job, or when a parent dies from cancer.

Jesus longs to be with us when we’re bullied for being different or when our lives seem so miserable that we can’t even get out of bed in the morning.

When Pope Benedict visited New York, he told the young people, “What matters most is that you develop your personal relationship with God.”

We develop that relationship each time we gather here to be nourished by God's word and strengthened by Jesus' body and blood.

We develop that relationship each time we spend time in prayer or meditation inviting Jesus into our hearts.

We develop that relationship each time we reach out to help someone in need.

Masters have servants. Without realizing it, many of us are mastered by our possessions or by our desire for instant gratification.

These things control our lives and create undue stress and anxiety. Jesus says to us, “Do not worry.”

This coming Wednesday we will place ashes on our foreheads as a sign of our desire to change our lives.

Maybe this Lent we can work on not being mastered by our possessions, so that we can allow Jesus to be master in our lives.

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